History Of A Feeling, Madi Diaz’s debut album on ANTI-, conveys the story about a past relationship and the full spectrum of feelings of having something end. It also marks a new level for Madi Diaz as a songwriter and her ability to share such honest feelings of rage, confusion, despair, and introspection on what happened. Although these themes are universal as we’ve all encountered them, it’s Diaz’s craft to navigate them with profound precision and dexterity.
Diaz has always had a knack for communicating emotions with ease. Her breakout introduction came from Plastic Moon (2012), with high accolades, a Billboard Heatseekers chart, and a Paste Magazine “”Top Ten Buzziest Acts” at SXSW. Continually writing music and releasing albums, Diaz has collaborated in multiple projects and songwriting, like the heart-pulling trio The Three of Us. Her resume of collaborations and co-writing credits has bolstered her experience. History Of A Feeling is another echelon in her career. The songs started three years ago in her solo move back to Nashville, driving her old pickup truck across the country.
From the first line of the album, “Live and let go I have tried, predictable every time,” her voice carries a calm, honest rage that sparks the beginning of the journey. Her range of influences include Patty Griffin, Lori McKenna, along with the sonics of PJ Harvey. But her emotional directness ties with feminist activist, pioneer of the feminist punk riot grrrl movement, Kathleen Hanna. It’s this strength that shines in “Man in Me” with her self-deception thoughts and questions. The song sparkles in bareness and flutters of guitar, winding up to suck the air out of your heart.
Her vulnerability and stream-of-consciousness songwriting in the “Crying in Public” shows a underlying firepower in Diaz’s writing. Incredibly honest, her chorus in “Think Of Me” showcase the dark wishes we all have with past partners.
“I hope you fuck her with your eyes closed and think of me.
I hope you love her with the lights low and think of me, and think of me always”
“Resentment”, co-wrote by Diaz, found an early home on the new Kesha album. Her version is stripped back a bit more, but equally deep. Written about coming to a boiling point of animosity that builds up after months of ambivalence, “Resentment” will have you ready to share it with any past relationships. Diaz relates on a heavy sense of intimancy and camaraderie in going through something that just didn’t work out.
The album is laid out with intention as each song slowly builds the full story. The feverish “Nervous” and epic “Forever” bring all the tension and lies to light. As a fan of storytelling and song placement, Diaz weaves the perfect heartache in the progression we all feel it. That skill and ability is hard to learn, but effortless for her.
The title track “History Of A Feeling” works to excavate that sense of belonging you experience when someone breaks your heart. Diaz says,
“I’m always trying to slowly walk backwards and figure out when the first time I ever felt that feeling was. There’s almost a wish that if you figure out where that feeling first came from, you can save yourself from repeating history.”
“New Person, Old Place” is the pinnacle of wisdom towards the end of the album. Simply stated, you can’t move on in an old place. The song looks back at the packed up relationship, slinging it over the shoulder, and walking away, ready to heal. Vocally Madi Diaz draws you along throughout the whole album with her confidence and frankness. There’s a wall of feelings behind each line, framed in rawness. Diaz shares that she wanted the album to sound conversational. You can feel that person chat within the lyrics. She’s sitting on your porch and telling you these stories, trying to hash out what to do next.
Madi kicks off her tour in Nashville on August 27th. Although not coming through Minnesota just yet, we can only hope her next slew of dates includes the Midwest. As one of the most emotionally powerful albums of 2021, seeing these songs live could help a lot of people in their healing path.
Follow Madi Diaz at the links below